Tom Ford - Chief Executive Officer
Tom Ford is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of, The Bay Foundation, the Director of the Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program, and Co-Executive Director of the Coastal Research Institute at Loyola Marymount University. As part of his engagement at Loyola Marymount University Tom is part time faculty teaching environmental science at the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering. Tom holds a M.A. from UCLA in Marine Ecology and a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island in Biology. Tom has been engaged in the study and restoration of kelp forests since he moved to LA in 1998. Other current projects include aerial mapping of boats, abalone genetics and disease risk management, sea urchin gonad indices development, coastal climate change vulnerability and resilience, and SCUBA based biological monitoring of Marine Protected Areas. In addition, Tom serves on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Marine Institute, Joint Strategic Advisory Committee for the Southern, Central-Northern California Coastal Ocean Observing System, and Association of National Estuary Programs. Tom has dedicated thousands of hours to understanding and correcting sources of pollution in Los Angeles; influencing national and international policies and practices that benefit the environment and public health.
Tom’s diverse background spans the Atlantic seaboard where his research on sea turtles involved nesting beaches, aerial surveys and coastal dredging projects. As a commercial shell fisherman in Rhode Island, he developed his deep appreciation for the working landscapes that our coastal waters comprise. Tom and his family live in Santa Monica where they spend their free time surfing and exploring the beaches of Los Angeles County.
Marcelo Villagomez - Chief Operations Officer
Marcelo Villagomez completed his B.A. in International Political Economy at the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Public Administration (MPA) with a focus in high performance management in the public and non-profit sectors. Marcelo has helped multiple non-profit organizations grow and have mission impact in the varied fields of childhood adoption and foster care, family and children’s health, community clinics, and immigrant and human rights. Marcelo has also been an international elections observer. As Chief Operating Officer, Marcelo is currently managing the administrative functions of the organization. His efforts include focusing on ongoing improvements in management and strengthening the organization’s financial and human capital to achieve mission critical long-term objectives.
Heather Burdick - Director of Marine Operations, Executive Assistant
Heather Burdick supports the Marine Team on various projects involving research, monitoring and ecological restoration. She has worked on restoration and water quality projects throughout the Santa Monica Bay watershed since 2005 including the Palos Verdes Kelp Restoration Project, Aerial Monitoring of Ocean Vessels, and southern California abalone recovery efforts. Heather earned her B.S. in Environmental Science with a concentration in Conservation Biology from UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. When she’s not diving below the waves you can find her exploring the beaches and mountains of California.
Karina Johnston - Science Director
Karina Johnston is the Science Director for The Bay Foundation, and the Director of Programs for the Coastal Research Institute at LMU. Through both positions, Karina conducts research, develops and implements projects, and manages grants. Her efforts to restore and monitor the Bay span from the watershed to the ocean. Karina frequently works on research and scientific monitoring projects in partnership with other faculty and is a Senior Lecturer in LMU’s Environmental Science department. She earned her M.S. in Marine Ecology at James Cook University in Australia and her B.S. in Aquatic Biology with a minor in Geology from UC Santa Barbara. Karina is a Board Certified Environmental Scientist, with a Biology specialty. Recently, she served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Academy of Sciences.
Karina Alvarez - Watershed Programs Field Technician
Karina Alvarez joined The Bay Foundation in January 2020 as a Watershed Programs Field Technician. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science from Loyola Marymount University in 2017 and will receive her M.S. in Global Change Ecology with an emphasis in Ecology from the University of Bayreuth. Her graduate thesis explored the effects of wildfires on ocean water quality in Southern California using MODIS. In her free time, Karina enjoys running, reading, and traveling.
Katie Blessing - Marine Programs Aquarist Intern
Katie joined The Bay Foundation in October 2020 as a Marine Programs Aquarist Intern. She is finishing her B.S. in Marine Biology in December 2020 and is planning on attending graduate school sometime in the near future. Her work with TBF primarily focuses on abalone husbandry/projects and data management. Katie has previously worked with The Birch Aquarium, The Aquarium of the Pacific, NOAA Fisheries, and CSU Long Beach regarding various abalone projects, husbandry, and education. She also has worked with graduate students at CSULB on various shark and ray projects. During free time, Katie enjoys cooking, photography, and biking to the beach.
Andrea Carrassi - Community Engagement Coordinator
Andrea Carrassi joined The Bay Foundation in July 2020 as a Community Engagement Coordinator. She supports the Boater Education Program and has a keen focus on Marine Protected Area education and compliance. In 2015, she received a B.A. in Global Environmental Change and Sustainability from Johns Hopkins University, complementing her studies with field research courses on marine conservation and sustainable development at various research institutes in the Caribbean Sea and the Indian Ocean. Prior to joining The Bay Foundation, Andrea worked as a Marketing Assistant at a local environmental engineering consultancy and as an intern in various international non-profits such as WWF-Fiji and LWR. She is passionate about community-led natural resource management and the connections between our environment, economy, and health. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, spending time with friends, diving, and surfing.
Sara Cuadra - Watershed Programs Field Technician
Sara Cuadra joined The Bay Foundation in September 2020 as a Watershed Programs Field Technician. She received her B.S. in Organismal Biology from California State University, Long Beach. Sara previously assisted Long Beach residents in converting lawns to sustainable, drought-tolerant landscapes as an intern for the Long Beach Water Department. She also previously worked on salt marsh restoration at the Los Cerritos Wetland. In her free time, Sara enjoys exploring the outdoors, spending time with her dog Tootsie, and practicing her newest hobby, roller skating.
Sam Corder Lee - Marine Programs Field Technician
Sam Corder Lee joined The Bay Foundation in August 2020 as a Marine Programs Field Technician. His activities focus on abalone husbandry, lab maintenance, and field operations. He received his B.S. in Marine Biology from CSULB in 2019. Sam has contributed to multiple graduate research projects focused on teleost and elasmobranch ecology and behavior. Since graduating, Sam has continued to build his skills and extend his knowledge while working multiple jobs in the field and laboratory. He has plans to go back to school in 2021 for a M.S. in Fisheries Ecology. During his time off he enjoys fishing and relaxing around the beach and mountains.
Julie Du Brow - Communications Specialist
Julie Du Brow is the Communications Specialist for The Bay Foundation, highlighting TBF’s work and staff in the media since 2012. As Founder/CEO for dubroWorks PR+Marketing since 2002, she specializes in local / regional / national campaigns for changemaker clientele in the fields of sustainability & the environment, architecture & design, science, technology, community, and the arts. Prior, Julie spent 16 years in the music industry, variously as Marketing Director to an independent label, Product/Artist manager to global multi-platinum bands, and Operations Director for Capitol Records. Julie is a native Angelena, has a B.A. in Communications from UCLA, and grew up using reusable shopping bags.
Chris Enyart - Watershed Program Manager
Chris Enyart joined The Bay Foundation in January 2018. He received his B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology from Cal State University, Channel Islands in 2015 and his M.S. in Environmental Science from Loyola Marymount University in 2018. His graduate thesis research examined long-term recreational beach water quality in Santa Monica Bay. In his free time, Chris enjoys being outdoors, playing ice hockey, and hanging out with his Pug and two Pitbull mixes.
Dalia Gonzalez - Community Engagement Coordinator
Dalia Gonzalez is focused on supporting the Boater Education Program by coordinating pollution prevention projects. She received her B.A. in Environmental and Physical Geography from Cal State University, Long Beach. Prior to joining The Bay Foundation, she conducted waste reduction and recycling education as an intern for the City of Long Beach. Dalia has also worked with several organizations that aim to reduce the environmental and social impacts of greenhouse gas emissions derived from landfills. In her free time, Dalia enjoys going to botanical gardens and listening to her small but mighty vinyl collection.
Ben Grime - Marine Program Manager
Ben Grime joined The Bay Foundation in March 2016 as the Abalone Lab Technician. He received his B.A. in Marine Biology from Occidental College in 2013 and is currently working on his M.S. in Biology from Cal Poly Pomona. His graduate studies are focusing on green and red abalone aquaculture method development and wild population restoration. Ben has previously worked as a research technician for the Vantuna Research Group, Channel Islands National Park, and the Southern California Marine Institute. In his spare time he enjoys playing soccer and walking his dog Leo.
Dane Lazarus - Watershed Programs Field Technician
Dane Lazarus joined The Bay Foundation in September 2020 as a Watershed Programs Field Technician. He received a B.S. in Ecology and Evolution from UCSB in 2015 and is currently completing a master’s in Environmental Engineering at Loyola Marymount University. His graduate thesis is examining near-shore bathymetry and erosion via sonar equipped USV. Dane previously worked at United Water in Ventura and for several years in the private security sector. In his free time, Dane enjoys martial arts, backpacking, and surfing.
Rilee Sanders - Marine Project Manager
Rilee Sanders joined The Bay Foundation in December 2019 as the Marine Programs Coordinator. He received his B.S. in Environmental Studies and Marine Biology from the University of Southern California in 2018. He remained at USC to complete his master’s degree in 2019, which focused on the impacts of boat anchoring fragmentation on eelgrass habitats on Catalina Island. Rilee has previously worked as a biological fisheries diver for Channel Islands National Park and as a research fellow for the Wrigley Institute. In his free time, you can find Rilee surfing, backpacking, climbing or exploring all that California has to offer.
Georgia Tunioli - Community Engagement Program Manager
Georgia Tunioli is focused on implementing pollution prevention and educational programs to create more sustainable boating and restaurant communities. Prior to joining The Bay Foundation, she worked with the Center for Biological Diversity and its Clean Air Cities Campaign and served as General Manager at TheKindLife.com. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and B.A. International Relations with a concentration in Sustainable Development from the University of Redlands.